by Madhumathi Palaniappan on  January 17, 2017 at 3:48 PM Health Watch
  • Depression is a leading cause of disability in the world.
  • Modafinil drug found to improve memory function in patients recovering from depression.
  • Further research is required to study the long-term effects of the drug on improving cognition.

Patients recovering from depression may encounter problems with memory, concentration and cognitive functions. A new study from the University of Cambridge found Modafinil drug, to improve memory in patients recovering from depression.

Modafinil drug is a central nervous stimulant that treats narcolepsy (excessive daytime sleepiness).
Modafinil Drug Improves Memory Function in Depression Patients

The research findings were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry:CNNI.

Depression is one of the common psychological disorders in the world. People with depression often find it difficult to concentrate, most of the patients with depression experience problems with memory and attention.

Highlighting the importance of cognition may be a target for treating depression.

A research team from the Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge estimated the potential of modafinil to treat cognitive dysfunction during depression. The drug was already found to have beneficial effects in treating patients with depression.

Research Study
The research study was conducted on 60 patients with depression who were between the age of 18 and 65 years. These patients were allowed to complete memory, attention and planning tasks after receiving modafinil or placebo drug.

The study findings found improvement on memory functions in patients who had received modafinil drug when compared to placebo. The drug was found to be on the two types of memory, episodic memory and working memory, both of them are important in our daily activities.

Professor Barbara Sahakian, senior author of the study, said, "We use episodic memory when we are remembering where we left our keys in the house, or remembering where we parked our car."

"Working memory, on the other hand, is the ability we use when we are rehearsing a new telephone number while we are trying to find a pen and paper to write it down, for example."

Fewer errors were noticed among patients who received modafinil drug compared to those who received placebo drug.

Dr.Muzaffer Kaser, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, said, "These results are very promising."

"GPs or psychiatrists often hear complaints of concentration or memory difficulties from patients with depression, but we are not good enough at treating these symptoms. Our study shows that modafinil may be a feasible option to tackle persistent cognitive problems in depression."

The long-term drug effects were not clearly stated. Professor Sahakian said, "We now need a longer term study using modafinil to see if the drug, which improves cognition and motivation, can facilitate successful return to work following depression."

Dr. Kathryn Adcock, Head of Neurosciences and Mental Health, added, that the ongoing treatment strategy for depression involves preventing relapse of the disease. Some people find it difficult to get back to their work after experiencing depression. The study results have found to help patients recovering from depression.

  • Depression often occurs due to medical conditions, drug use, stressful life conditions, sleeping problems.
  • Globally, 350 million people are affected by depression.
  • Women are two times more likely to suffer from depression when compared to men.
  • Depression affects about 18 million adults in America every year.
  • The onset of major depression usually begins in people between the age of 25-29.
  • About 20% of people experience symptoms of depression.
  • Around 80% of suicides that occur are due to major depression.
Modafinil Drug
It is a central nervous stimulant drug which acts by changing the amount of natural substances in the brain area which controls sleep and wakefulness.

The drug is usually prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy (a condition which causes daytime sleepiness). Modafinil drug may be habit-forming and must not be taken in doses larger than the recommended amounts.

  1. Kaser M, et al. Modafinil Improves Episodic Memory and Working Memory Cognition in Patients with Remitted Depression: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo Controlled Study. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging; 17 Jan 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2016.11.009.
  2. Depression Facts - (
  3. 11 Facts About Depression - (
  4. Modafinil - (

Source: Medindia

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